Another loose outline for an (almost) one-pot weeknight wonder – think chili and pasta or ramped up mac and cheese. Borrowed from Ree Drummond’s newest book, ‘Super Easy!’, this is super flexible. You could leave out the meat, use any cheese you wish (I couldn’t do the suggested Velveeta), or use regular canned tomatoes if you want to tame the spice – enjoy!
a splash of avocado oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper for cooking
1 lb. ground beef AND 1 onion, diced AND 4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t. chili powder
1 t. EACH cumin AND onion powder
1/2 t. EACH garlic powder AND paprika
2 cans (284 mL/10 oz) Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
2 T. EACH butter AND flour
2 c. whole milk (though more may be needed)
1 box (454 g) shell shaped or other small pasta – reserve a couple of cups of the pasta water
1 can (284 mL/10 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 to 4 c. grated cheese – ideally some that is quite soft (Havarti or provolone) and some that’s quite sharp (like old cheddar or Parmesan) – we definitely prefer the ‘more cheese’ end of the spectrum
For serving – chopped cilantro, avocado slices, sour cream and hot sauce
Heat up a bit of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the beef, onions and garlic until the meat is well browned. Season generously as it’s cooking with salt and pepper and take the time to make sure it’s all as broken up as possible. Stir in all of the spices, cook for a quick minute, and then stir in the 2 cans of Ro-tel. Turn off the heat, remove this mix to a large bowl and set aside.
Cook the pasta to al dente in a large pot of salted water, drain well, reserving a couple of cups of the pasta water. In the same (unwashed) skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, whisk in the flour and then whisk in the milk and continue to stir until this new mix comes to boil and thickens a bit. Add in a couple of cups of grated cheese, stir until melted, then stir in the drained pasta, the beans and the beef and tomato mix. Add more liquid using the pasta water if you feel it needs it and then serve up your taco shells in large bowls with all of the trimmings!